Barratry

I’m taking another story out of order, because it is just too amazing not to.

Recently, I was heading out to lunch. As I often do, I was getting lunch late because things seemed to quiet down around three in the afternoon, so escaping for food then is usually least noticed by those around me. Before I made it to my car, I got a phone call from the paralegal telling me Mr. Senior Partner was calling a meeting of a bunch of associates. When asked what about, turns out there was no information given. The paralegal had given me an out saying they didn’t know where I was, and then calling me on the phone. (lying in this manner is done so often it may as well be company policy) I had a brief opportunity as I looked between my car and back toward the law firm building. I told them I was headed back inside and I would get lunch later. (I greatly regret this decision not to place more value upon my lunch and will not make this mistake again).

I show up and am told it the meeting was for associates. So I file in expecting to see a bunch of us. Well, not quite. I see maybe a dozen of us… which is odd because there are a whole bunch more around the office. Mr. Senior Partner does his usual meeting appearance half an hour plus after it is supposed to start, making everyone just sit and do nothing. He looks around the room and points at the 2 associates of one of his favored litigators, and says “I didn’t ask for you two, you can go.” Which just seems to make the whole situation stranger that those of us left were apparently hand picked for this assignment. Which did not bode well, because at one end of the room were some lower level associates who had never graced the floor of the building we were in before this.

He starts talking, and weaving a story about a some random guy. The last time he spun a story in a meeting like this, it is slightly notable that he lied about the story, by vastly embellishing details which were material to the case at hand, but no matter. The short version was that there was a guy, who was now in the hospital and we were being conscripted to guard the client from other *cough* less scrupulous attorneys who might try to get them to sign something. (I am unsure if a less scrupulous firm exists). Someone asks if this person is a client. Mr Senior Partner sidesteps the question and doesn’t answer. He then quickly leaves and says the compliance attorney will fill us in on any other details.

So we are given signup sheets to go guard a patient, in a hospital, over the weekend. At least once more someone asks if they are a currently client, and the answer was something to the effect of “he’s a really nice man”. This time I ask the compliance attorney directly… Is.. he.. a.. client? There is a pause and apparently committed to it, the compliance attorney says “Of course he is. why else would we be doing this?” Then we’re told the ‘client’ has no family and it’s so sad what happened, as if this is supposed to explain away why we are doing this…. assigning a cadre of attorneys to hover at the bedside of some random person in a hospital.

Now most people can already smell the bullshit. The favored associates were given a pass, “handpicked” ones were being made to hang out in a hospital over the weekend, doing the absolute epitome of ambulance chasing.

I left the meeting and talked to someone who had been with the firm almost from the beginning. When I told them, they literally gasped, and said that the firm never does this and the founder must not know because this is strictly taboo. (also illegal pretty much everywhere… look up barraty).

I had lucked out and gotten a slightly better timeslot. I showed up, and found out first and foremost, the grand lie that the person had no family. There were about a dozen family members packed into the hospital room, and there I was, shifting uncomfortably around them until I finally just decided to wait in the hall. And damn am I glad I did, because shortly thereafter they began praying. And not the quiet praying… nooo… I’m talking loud yelling praying which turned into speaking in tongues. No shit. It was a cross between hilarious and horrifying.

I waited out my time. This was quite literally the slimiest thing I’ve done to date. Basically the firm used a bunch of attorneys to guard some guy in a hospital bed as if he were a big pile of money. Because that’s how the firm saw him. I am willing to work pretty much anywhere at this point. I really hope someday I get to testify in front of the bar against these people.

My boss has been effectively absent for the last 3 weeks. I am actually curious to know what his opinion is on this latest activity. Of course, he has to show up for me to actually communicate with him beyond very short text messages.

Senior Partner III

These posts are mostly there to give you an idea of who was running the show on a daily basis. The general disdain of the Senior Partner for everyone else trickled down into everything done at the office. For example:

I was sitting in my supervising attorney’s office. We were talking about the various tasks for the cases that they are running, and I am helping to manage. We get to a point where we need to file for a hearing, so my boss asks me to get the paralegal.

From the doorway to the paralegal’s desk was possibly … 7 feet? maybe?

I step out of the doorway a little more than 2 feet towards the desk and ask them to come join us. I turn to re-enter the office and quite literally the door slams mere centimeters from my face. About 4 people were standing around and froze for a moment while I nearly fall onto the unexpectedly and quite suddenly closed door.

In the second it took me to step out of the doorway, the Senior Partner walked into the office behind me and shut the door on me. Without noticing I was there at all. The secretary behind me laughed a little and said “well at least you didn’t hit the door…” With not much more to be said, I turned and told her “I seriously think I am invisible to that man.”

She looked at me and said,”Honey, I think we all are.”

Then there were the meetings. The attorneys in the whole office were informed of a meeting with the Senior Partner. So pretty much all work stopped, as everyone from the senior litigators to the lowly associates like me filed into a conference room. And proceeded to wait.

And wait.

Now, the Senior Partner was the one who called the meeting. He knew where everyone was and had told us when to be there (now.. was the timing given to me). The entire office basically just waited for about 45 min doing nothing until the senior partner wandered in and held an under 30 second meeting in which he introduced the new compliance attorney, who we had all met already, cause they had been working there for 2 or 3 weeks at that point. And then he walked out without talking to anyone. Good meeting.

But hey, at least there had been a meeting this time. This exact scenario had happened a few weeks prior, and in the end he sent a paralegal to say that he needed to reschedule whatever meeting we had all been waiting for the past hour for. Good use of time.

The point is, this was not unique.

Senior Partner II

I had been working on the project assigned in the meeting (that eventually got underway) called by Mr. Senior Partner. While working on it, I ran across an error someone had made, and I corrected it. But more than that, a short while later I found something very good for our side. Something which quite literally was incredibly important to the case, and only I had it.

So I checked and rechecked, and I printed out the information and blew up a few graphics so they could see it better, and I went to my supervising attorney and showed them. They looked it over, looked at me and said ‘This is fantastic…’ and then he wandered out of the room just leaving me there without another word. I was quickly finding my immediate boss was not blessed with a plethora of social graces, or maybe they reserved them for more important people. I honestly didn’t care, I got along with them decently at this point and I was happy they were happy with what I had found.

The supervising attorney wanders back in a little later and wants me to email them everything I had. And then he starts emailing it to.. well… crap. A lot of people. It seemed like there was suddenly a bunch of people interested in what I had found. But, I had finished work on the project and handed over my file folders. The case they were working on was not assigned to my boss (which is a very important distinction apparently); and this type of thing seemed to be about all they trusted the associates to handle unsupervised. Anyway, my boss hands me the files at the end of the day and asks me to put them on the angry paralegal’s desk for Mr. Senior Partner. It was well past time when the paralegals and other hourly works had left, so I just put them down somewhere obvious and called it a day.

I should have known it wouldn’t be as easy as that. The next day, as I am working on nothing horribly important in my office, the angry paralegal walks in with all of the files I had placed on her desk, plus several more. (hmm… odd). And she hands them to me and says ‘You need to give these directly to Mr. Senior Partner… he has some questions for you.’

Well, that’s ominous. But maybe he just wanted me to give him a quick run down on the project parts so he didn’t have to waste time reading it. The paralegal waddles back out of my office leaving me with the files. So, without knowing why she felt the need to chastise me as opposed to my supervising attorney, I head over to my supervising attorney’s office with the files.

He takes them from me and puts them on his desk and says he’ll take care of it. And I head back to my office. Fast forward 3 hours. The angry paralegal reappears with the files and places them on my desk again. And reiterates almost identically as before… ‘Mr. Senior Partner wants you, personally, to give them to him. He has some questions.’

Now to reiterate something I had mentioned before… I could very possibly have wadded up a piece of paper and lobbed it through the door or my office and into Mr. Senior Partner’s office while standing in my office doorway. But instead, the files had become some strange hot potato to keep handing off. And the paralegal had decided since I was the neophyte, I got to deal with the crap. The supervising attorney was 5 steps away… but she decided to bring them to me. So… I thanked her. And after a minute or two, I got up took the files and walked over to Mr. Senior Partner’s office…. and he wasn’t there. Because… obviously? Why would he be.

So I went back, defeated, set them on the corner of the desk and went back to my work. At some point later, I got up to go talk to my boss; And lo and behold Mr. Senior Partner is in his office. Holy crap. I can finally dump the files that were supposedly so important and now appear to have taken up residence on the corner of my desk. So I quickly grab the hot potato before he mysteriously disappears again and head into my supervisor’s office.

I put them down on the desk and say ‘here are the project files’.

No response. My boss hands Mr. Senior Partner the evidence he seemed so excited about. Mr. Senior Partner was staring at it and then said… ‘this is great. Who found this?’

I spoke up,’ I did.’

Silence.

Then my supervisor speaks up and says ‘Azrael did.’ Only then did Mr. Senior respond, ‘Ah. good.’

Then his brow furrows a bit and he says.. ‘no this is not right here. It was different in the file.’

I respond,’Yes, someone input it incorrectly into the file but I fixed the error and that led me to find this.’

Silence.

So my supervisor speaks up… ‘Azrael identified an error and corrected it. This is the right information.’

Mr. Senior, ‘Oh that is very good.’

It was getting eerie. It was like I was a ghost. I surreptitiously caught the attention of my supervisor and I discreetly motioned that I was going to leave his office. He equally discreetly waved his acquiescence as he remained with Mr. Senior, who apparently couldn’t see nor hear me as he continued speaking only with my supervisor.

I have made it a high priority to have as few as possibly actual dealings with Mr. Senior Litigator as humanly possible. Which considering I am apparently invisible to him, shouldn’t be too difficult.

The Senior Partner

On day 1, I was sitting in my office doing pretty much nothing, because no one had told me what I was supposed to do as of yet. My direct senior attorney was off doing something more important and basically told me to review discovery rules (about 200 pages of code) and eventually they might have something for me to do.

So I was sitting there leafing through the code, feeling like I was reviewing for the bar again when a paralegal pokes their head in and says ‘Mr. Senior Partner wants you and the other associates in the conference room now.’

Ah ha. Something to do. So I grab a pen and pad of paper and wander over to one of the conference rooms. And here is where I wondered if I should have gotten more information. There are at least half a dozen conference rooms on this floor alone. And more on the floors above. I wasn’t told which conference room.. just ‘the’ conference room. And the one I was standing in front of was completely empty. And I look down the hall, and the big one is empty too… so I’m beginning to worry slightly. So I thought, maybe if the conference room is empty, everyone might be meeting in Mr. Senior Partner’s office… which is only a short jaunt down the hall from me.

So I wander over there, and see Mr. Senior Partner sitting in his office. His door is completely open so I walk over and poke my head in to the much larger office. At which point I heard behind me, “Excuse me, can I help you?’

Mr. Senior Partner’s paralegal is sitting at a desk 10 feet away staring me down. So I walk over the 3 paces and say “Partner wanted to see me and the other associates.” as I stand there holding my legal pad.

The paralegal distastefully sucks at her teeth and says, ‘and who are you?’

‘I’m Azrael, he said to come meet them at…’ but she was already ignoring me as she picked up the phone and called Mr. Senior Partner.

Who I was staring at.

Through the open doorway of their office.

Maybe 20 feet away. maybe.

And the paralegal speaks into the phone, ‘Mr. Azrael is here to see you. He says you asked for him.’ I’m puzzled now. I mean.. he’s literally right there. I almost waved slightly as he very quickly glanced up, said something into the phone and hung up before returning to what he had been doing.

The paralegal turned back to me and said “He’ll be out shortly.”

I looked at the paralegal in confused disbelief. Back through the open door of his office, and then sort of backed away and hoped the other associates showed up quickly, because this had gotten really weird, really quickly.

This was not an office with an open door policy apparently.

Being a Dick

Where I am currently working, there is a rule; not an unwritten rule mind you… no this is actually written down in the ‘playbook’ we are supposed to follow for dealing with Opposing Counsel.

You are supposed to be a dick to opposing counsel. If you can make their life just a bit more difficult, you are supposed to.

  • Have a hearing you can pass but OC would have to travel to show up to it? Go ahead and have that hearing, maybe pass it in person in the court, just to give an extra screw you to them.
  • OC needs some documents which we are supposed to be giving to them (hell we may have even agreed to give them over)? Make them file a Motion to Compel before we part with the documents we already know are worthless to them.
  • Find out OC’s schedule can’t accommodate something? Only schedule hearings and depositions for those days and be intractable about any other schedule. Use those days they were unavailable in court to prove they were the obstructionist. I weep for those attorneys who send out advance notices of vacation plans to our office.
  • Did I hear the deponent mention the name of their long lost friend twice removed who they haven’t seen in 10 years? That’s a necessary deposition and we won’t produce any further discovery until you find them.
  • I must text, email, and call you at random times, but if you try to contact me I will be nowhere to be found.
  • Opposing counsel emails asking if we can bump a deposition 30 minutes so they don’t have to get up at the ass-crack of dawn in order to show up? … “Hello? Anyone there? Weird… this email seemed to work yesterday. I wonder why we can’t get a response…”
  • You are a solo attorney? HA HAHA HAHA… Sure we’ll call you back sometime right around half-past never. (seriously though, a solo to this firm is about the same as saying the opponent is pro-se. We are supposed to beat them like a redheaded stepchild because they usually can’t figure out how to fight back.)
  • That person we absolutely need to depose is in Middle-of-Nowhere, USA– We could either fly them here, or we could make literally everyone else fly there. Looks like its road trip time…
  • Discovery? You mean Discovery OBJECTIONS… to every… single… request. (this one is actually rather endemic across the whole field; it’s not just this firm.)
  • Oh, and the venue we are going to fight like hell for is a tiny little nowhere court where the judge’s campaigns are significantly bankrolled by our firm. Good luck getting out of this quagmire of a venue, suckers. (and no, it doesn’t matter if venue is improper, we are supposed to fight like hell to keep it there regardless.)

Why you ask, are we supposed to be completely unprofessional? The theory is that if the firm makes OCs dread the thought of drawn out litigation with the firm, they just might settle to avoid the inevitable hassle and annoyance over the next 2 years as the firm plays out their petty shenanigans against you.

Of course, the next question is, does this tactic work? The answer is mixed. I think it does work against in-house counsel. It doesn’t at all against outside counsel who are paid by the hour. In fact, many billables are gleefully created by the outside counsel firm who recognize that our firm will keep every litigation case going until the sun burns out, and thus a wonderful opportunity is created. The defense counsel bills the living hell out of their client, and ultimately settles the day before the trial making their client pay out to the plaintiff’s firm also; and thus both are happy as they both robbed the defendant-client blind.

My boss sees being nice (or professional for that matter) as weakness. In point of fact, normal courtesy ends up sparking irrational paranoid thoughts in them. For example, OC asks that we amend a pleading to drop an unnecessary party? Suddenly the paranoia goes into overdrive. Why would they ask that? It must be a trial tactic, therefore even though they see no reason not to, and OC offers every assurance including verified agreements, we obviously have to keep that party in the case. Because OC is wiley and probably trying to trick us somehow. (is it possible? maybe, but only if we are dealing with the same type of personality as my boss honestly). I have been told several times that I am a ‘nice guy’, and oh yeah, that’s a pejorative here.  I have also been told that only new attorneys actually believe there is any sort of professionalism and honor in the legal field.

So, am I a dick? No. I work around a lot of them, but I am not. I generally feel like acting like a normal person and trying to expedite things is really the better way to work. It definitely helps move the case a bit faster and clients seem to be much happier they don’t have to wait a million years for the case to settle. It is apparently a rarity to be civil as I have had several OCs comment on how much nicer it is to work with me than most other attorneys.

Our profession is pretty fucked up, and quite a few people think keeping it that way is an excellent way to make a fair amount of money.

Because confidential means tell everyone

I wasn’t going to be posting contemporaneous information, but this was too good to not share…

Today I unintentionally fucked up; or was screwed over… likely a bit of both.

So as mentioned previously, I started applying for jobs again to try to get the hell out of the position I am currently stuck in. The truth is, it might not be such a bad job if it weren’t for the people directly around me. As will be made clear in other postings, the firm is actively trying to fire my boss, and therefore by proxy is making my life miserable as well in an effort to get at my boss from all directions.

So I happened to be browsing the job postings online last night and what do I find? My exact job position but at a different office / city of my firm, where I would much rather be working at because, well, I’m working at the main location (which is in a regional tiny city with a HUGE crime and drug problem). And it is, bluntly… horrible. In short, where I am now is hours from civilization, but the firm does have offices in real cities… just not the main office.

Anyway, I figure it is worth asking the head of HR if it would be possible to just transfer over to the other office. You know, because they are hiring for my exact job there. I could just jump from one city to the next and not miss a beat. Seemed like a win / win. I would get out of my situation, and even though I would still be working for the same questionable firm, I would be in a better work environment (hey, it couldn’t get worse… right? RIGHT?!), which I could probably live with for longer than I can deal with my current situation. So I reach out to the head of HR, the same one who initially ran point on hiring me, and specifically mention that I was reaching out to them in confidence regarding transferring to the other city for the position they were advertising. I figured, nothing ventured nothing gained.

The Head of HR responds telling me there isn’t actually a position there. They just run the ads very often to keep a fresh talent pool (consider the attrition rate previously mentioned… technically I probably should have considered that too, but you can’t really know if the job postings are real or not from my vantage point). Then they asked if something was wrong, and in the best fucking move I’ve seen, they forward the whole email chain to the Managing Partner of the firm.

The head of HR just dropped that I was trying to escape my current boss, but I didn’t necessarily want to leave the firm, just this practice group. They also effectively told the partner I am actively looking at job postings and just happened to come across one of their own. Because of the internal political climate, this is almost guaranteed to be forwarded to at least 2 or more other partners, and possibly even sent to my boss directly requesting an explanation. Because at least one of the senior partners would like nothing better than to make my boss’ working relationship uncomfortable with their associate. For no other reason than they hate him that much.

Sigh.

Well, I did say I really didn’t care if I got fired. I guess I get to test that out.

Minor update: So my boss was called over this afternoon to the Managing Partner’s office (which is not in the same building as our office). This hasn’t happened in the whole of the time I’ve worked here. I find it incredibly difficult to believe this is serendipitous. I got some weird apology on the phone later from my boss for being so bipolar sometimes (their words). Yeah. I can’t imagine at this point they didn’t say something to my boss. Awesome.

Work 2 – Attrition Rate

The attrition rate at this firm was bad. Like seriously bad. I had an inkling that things were probably not great, but I had no idea until I started working there just how bad it really was.

On day one, I ended up sitting in on a paralegal training session, because they weren’t sure what to do with me and decided I should know what my assigned paralegal could do for me (? — Did I mention I had a paralegal? I do. They are supposed to do stuff for me, but mostly I feel guilty asking them to so I try not to). During the training the lead trainer said “If you see an attorney and don’t know their name, don’t worry about learning it, they probably won’t be here long enough for you to bother.” They realized I was sitting in the back, and just sort of shrugged and said, ‘sorry… but it’s sorta true.’

I started to find out what they meant once I started talking with the other associates. We were all living in empty temporary apartments which we could move out of on a moments notice. As in, no furniture beyond a bed, empty. (yes, me too). This firm was headquartered in a tiny regional city that everyone had to move to in order to work there. Everyone was treading water waiting to get the hell out of dodge at the first sight of a better job.

This was shown in the more visible mark of the turnover… the empty offices. There were a lot of them. In fact, most of the offices for the associates had absolutely zero personal touches in them. A mirror of our disposable apartments in the office setting.  You would hear about it too, as you walked over to someone’s office… oh hey is Bob in today? — No. Bob isn’t in today or anyday anymore. He quit. And the office would have been scavenged like some sort of Mad Max  scene as any office item of vague utility would have been taken to be re-purposed elsewhere, usually leaving motions and files strewn about on the desk. (which I often wondered… weren’t those important and potentially time sensitive?) But no matter. Not my problem apparently.

Probably the most visible mark of the turnover was the stationary. The letterhead for the firm listed the attorneys attached to it in tiny print. Apparently early on they had tried having it professionally printed, but learned quickly it became outdated faster than they could print it. Instead everything was dynamically generated when you printed off the computer. I was instructed to always print a new stationary page because (a direct quote) “the letterhead changed some days on an hour by hour basis.” As in, people quit so often, that the dynamic letterhead was very likely different before lunch, as opposed to after lunch. I kept tabs on my relative place in the firm as I watched my name creep higher and higher on the letterhead. Which was disturbing because I haven’t even been there that long, but I am now about a third up the letterhead. Think on that.

The senior litigator I was attached to had 2 associates, me and another person. The other one ended up being transferred away (a very different and interesting story I will eventually get to) leaving only me. The other associate later told me that he learned he had lasted the longest of any associate attached to that senior litigator I was now working with. A grand total of 8 months.

I could see why. After only two months there I was already starting to apply to jobs again. I was fulfilling the churn at the firm.

Work – Day 1

So I got a job.

Finally.

It wasn’t the one I wanted. And I definitely don’t think it is a great one, but it pays me money and it has some added incentives as well. I should amend that, really it only had one added incentive. Health insurance. Which as the unemployed are well aware, is pretty horrible if you aren’t getting employer based coverage. Anyway.

I was told they hired 3 of us at once. That’s usually not a good sign. This firm constantly has ads running to hire new people from the bottom to the top, and they are hiring multiples at each go? I already was feeling rumblings that the attrition rate was going to be cutthroat. The sad thing is I was ‘trained’ with one of the other two hired with me (more on the training later.) His story was 100% identical to my own. His school had been decent, then dropped. He moved and got stuck finding nothing but shit work. Got this job and picked up what little shit he owned and while I was talking with him that morning, he was living out of an extended stay hotel. I at least had the foresight to get down here a few days early and get an apartment (which remains empty save for a desk and bed to this day, as it turns out, this is the standard living situation for associates here… a vacant apartment and they commute on weekends back to where they tell everyone else they really live). We commiserated about the shit situation that neither of us really wanted to be in, but this firm  was hiring.. .and no one else seemed to be.

My first day I got a good taste of what was to come. I was kept past midnight at the office, working on what turned out to be a small part of a side project which wasn’t even really used. (super!)

The Partner I was assigned to seemed like a nice guy. But one of those people you get the feeling has nothing else to really do with themselves, so they are at the office 24X7 to stave off suicide and make money for that day that never comes.

I did get my very own office. It is was not a bad size either. I was sure I was going to be jammed into a cubicle. Instead I got a nice office with a window — which as it happened looked out over an industrial refinery of some sort. One with a big flare smokestack which randomly burst into flames during the day… I’m sure there is some obvious symbolism I could draw here, but I will restrain myself.

When I was assigned to it, the office was empty except for the desk and a pile of file boxes of some long forgotten case (and client) which remain unmoved to this day. There was also the vague remnants of the previous occupant, empty food wrappers, and a small hoarded stash of office supplies. Within a very short time IT walked in and setup a computer, phone, etc etc. and then immediately put me to work. The speed was impressive. Time is money I guess.

I was also handed an Ipad. I asked, “what’s this for?” The IT person shrugged and told me everyone in my position gets one, but they didn’t really know what for. (This will be a common theme.) I put the Ipad in my desk drawer and promptly forgot about it for the next month and a half.

The frat guy lawyer wandered by and poked his head into my office, and said “it’s your first day? Uh oh..” then proceeded to yell loudly down the hallway “Start the countdown.” the implication was that no one stayed there very long. Great way to start things off. Also, rather prophetic, or not. As you will see, they watch people in my position come and go with great regularity.

Around 10:30 at night there was an error with the computer system. The partner who was still there, and keeping me there like an oversized anchor looked at me and said “call up Bob in tech support” (at 10:30?) He seemed quite insistent about calling tech support, So I called Bob. Who was less than pleased and said… “well put in a ticket; not much I can do from my bed at the moment.” The partner seemed honestly confused someone wouldn’t immediately jump to help at that hour… when we were the only 2 in the building. Go figure.

I left a bit after midnight rather annoyed. The project was remedial busywork, I had a sneaking suspicion it was merely being used to see how far they could push the new recruits. Just because. Another common theme. The only caveat was that the Partner I was assigned to bordered on the OCD level of editing. They would edit, then re-edit, then edit their edits… basically no matter how many times you fixed something with their edits, they always found something more wrong, often with what they themselves had just written.

But at the end of the day, I am being paid. As a real associate. At first, it seemed like it might be a good place. That naive thought was quickly stomped, strangled, and summarily murdered in a back alley. More later…

I really don’t care anymore…

Initially, as mentioned in the previous (not so recent) posts, I have a lot of content waiting in the wings. I was holding back on it because it is all about the place I am currently working.

As you might expect, it’s not usually a good thing to post negative information about your current job if you wish to keep it. Which brings me to this… I really don’t.

I don’t care anymore. I daydream about being fired. I can’t quite bring myself to quit. I am being paid decently, but the toll it is taking on me mentally is a price I hadn’t bargained for. So, without further delay, I am unleashing the floodgates and starting to put up the posts about my continued travels through the underworld of the legal profession.

Interview #35 – The Red Carpet

So this partially explains my hiatus. And at the same time, continues on  with more interview stories.

So I became gainfully employed earlier this year, shortly before the posts stopped. In point of fact, I was hired on here as a full associate. I said yes because… well… the job title was “Associate” and I figured if nothing else, I could stick it out for a little bit and then lateral to something more palatable. Plus they were paying real money! Not a fabulous salary to be sure, but it was a damn sight better than the majority of jobs I have been running across of late. I also have this horrible addiction to food and living indoors, which for once, I am able to cover fully on my own! (woo for being an adult!)

Well, sticking it out has gotten very difficult. I will be posting a bunch of stories about the weird as hell (and ultimately ethically bankrupt) stories garnered from working at a huge Personal Injury firm. After working there only a little while, I realized I needed to get the hell out, and fast. I talked to several attorney friends of mine, and before I even got to some of the good stories, I was told by every one that I was ethically obliged to quit the job due to Professional Responsibility reasons. These stories are going to appear once I am safely away from this place. But until then…

__________________________________________

Only a few months in I am now worried for my license if I don’t get out. So, I started up the application process once again. It wasn’t nearly so difficult, mostly because all my jobhunting bookmarks were still fresh enough and I never actually unsubscribed from Indeed.com’s job alerts I had setup forever ago.

For the first time ever, I got a hit off of a LinkedIn job posting for a small to mid size law firm. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a call back from a LinkedIn application, so this was a novelty at the minimum. Maybe having the ‘Associate’ title actually did grant me a little bit of cache as I was hoping.

I showed up at the office in a small mid-rise building in one of the nicer areas of town. Mind you, it wasn’t in the expensive area… it was more like it was a few blocks down the street from the expensive area. Enough so that rent was lower, but you could still claim your office was in the right neighborhood to clients.

I walked into one of the larger, and nicer lobbies for a smallish law firm that I have seen. Besides the significant use of glass walls, the first thing you had to notice was the wall-to-wall plush red carpet. It was just solid, bright red and slightly squishy when you walked on it. I thought it was a little bit of an odd choice for a waiting room, but didn’t think much more about it. The receptionist brought me into the back offices and I immediately noticed the red carpet continued on throughout the whole of the office. All I could figure was there must have been some super sale on it, because who would put this in their whole office?

I get put into a small, oddly shaped library room / closet with (red carpet) a little table. The managing partner came in as the interviewer, which I suppose is the benefit of a somewhat smaller firm. The firm is a general practice and for the first time ever, they thought my resume and background, with all its weird specialties, was a perfect fit. They loved that I had done a whole bunch of different types of law, and they were very interested in several points on my resume which not one single other firm has ever asked about. I am hopeful about this one.

I was also told that I was only one of a couple applicants they interviewed, out of a stack about 3 inches thick. So apparently I am gaining mad skillz at resume creation, maybe.

We got down to talking about how much notice I’d need for my current job and things which sounded very hopeful. I had the same unfortunate moment of most likely low-balling my requested salary, especially as we continued talking, the managing partner dropped the bomb that the firm had its own private jet. This was a new one… even with some of the big firms I’ve been to, none had seemingly had their own private jet. Truthfully, that was my big take away from the interview. I am sure there were nuances in our other discussions as well, but “private jet” loomed large in my mind walking out the door after the interview.

The interview was thankfully normal, and the managing partner was quite nice, plus the billable requirement was seemingly attainable unlike many other firms. I am hopeful. They’re supposed to bring back a few for a second interview. I’m hoping I have to take a sick day to head over to a second interview because I really like the feel of this firm… minus the squishy red carpet.


minor addendum:

So even though the firm was talking with me about how soon I could start working for them, they never bothered to get back to me. After 2 weeks, I dropped an email to the interviewer / partner. They told me they had gotten really busy and hadn’t made any decisions as of yet, so not to worry as he was going to get back to me very shortly. That was literally the last I heard from them. I followed up with a thank you card via USPS about another week to two later. Basically said thanks, I would love to work there if they were still looking etc. etc. Nothing came back. Not even a rejection. I mean at least send out a short note to the very very few people you had come in for an interview. Shit… be human about it.

Law School – A very expensive mistake….